The major club football around Europe may have reached its climax in Madrid on Saturday, but there’s plenty of football to be enjoyed over the next couple of months. We start off with the final stages of the inaugural UEFA Nations League, where Portugal, Switzerland, Netherlands, and England will battle it out for the trophy.
Portugal and Switzerland clash in Porto in the first of the semi-finals on Wednesday night, before Guimaraes hosts a tie between Netherlands and England on Thursday night.
Click here for all our UEFA Nations League predictions, betting tips and match previews.
As you would expect, our main focus lies with England match and their best chance of ending their 53 year trophy drought. The Three Lions are coming up against a youthful and talented Netherlands side though, so it could be a nervy affair on Thursday. Now looks like the perfect time to delve into the player specials markets over on bet365 and search for some hidden value, so take a look at our selections below:
Memphis Depay Over 3.5 Shots at 6/4
Memphis Depay has rediscovered his form ever since his ill-fated spell at Manchester United came to an end, and his performances at Lyon have earned him an almost automatic spot in the Netherlands front line.
Depay is most often used as their main striker in a fluid three-up-front system, and the PSV academy graduate has never been shy of having a pop at goal. In fact, he has registered an average of 3.1 shots per game in Ligue 1 this season, scoring 10 goals along the way. This average rises to 3.8 shots per game in his four UEFA Nations League appearances too.
England haven’t exactly been tight-knit at the back in this competition either. They have faced a total of 35 shots in their four matches, an average of 8.75 shots per game. 6/4 looks a fantastic price for Depay to be the culprit behind four or more of these shots.
Frenkie de Jong Over 68.5 Passes at 5/6
Barcelona-bound midfielder Frenkie de Jong has been a revelation for Ajax this season, putting in star performances regularly as he helped his club to an unlikely Champions League semi final run. Barcelona, often lauded for their passing game and still trying to replace Andres Iniesta, were always the obvious choice for a player of de Jong’s quality.
The 22 year old is sublime with the ball at his feet. His pass success rate has eclipsed the 90% mark this season, and that doesn’t stem from a small number of passes. He has averaged 79.5 passes per game in the Eredivisie this term, 73.1 in the Champions League and 71 in his four UEFA Nations League appearances. In games where de Jong has played 80+ minutes this season, he has registered at least 69 passes in 27 out of 35 matches in the Eredivisie, Champions League, and Nations League.
He will once again line up as Netherlands’ midfield orchestrator on Thursday, so we can expect another passing masterclass and odds of 5/6 for him to register more than 68 passes looks very attractive.
Ben Chilwell Over 1.5 Tackles at 4/7
Ben Chilwell is likely to line up for his 7th England appearance on Thursday night, occupying a left back berth and tasked with keeping the talented Steven Bergwijn quiet. The Leicester City full back hasn’t always shown the greatest defensive side to his game, but this improved towards the end of the season and his pace will be a huge advantage against a player of Bergwijn’s talents.
Bergwijn averaged 3.2 dribbles per game in the Eredivisie last season, a figure only topped by Excelsior’s Marcus Edwards, so Chilwell will have plenty of opportunity to practise his tackling game on Guimaraes. He certainly came on leaps and bounds towards the end of the season in this respect, making at least two tackles in five of his last six Premier League appearances. Add to that the fact that he has made more than one tackle in two of his three Nations League appearances and backing him to do the same looks a good choice here.
Jadon Sancho Over 0.5 Assists at 3/1
Teenage sensation Jadon Sancho has spent the season tearing Bundesliga defences apart for Borussia Dortmund, grabbing 12 league goals in 34 appearances and striking fear into opponents with his pace and dribbling ability. However, an often overlooked part of his game is his creative spark, with Sancho’s eye for a killer pass greatly aided by his ability to free himself from the opposition defence.
This led to him contributing 14 assists in the Bundesliga, averaging almost an assist every other game. He only has four appearances under his belt for England, but he wasted no time in showing what he’s capable of. 27 minutes into his first start for England he assisted Trent Alexander-Arnold’s goal against the United States, and in his second start against Czech Republic he put it on a plate for Raheem Sterling after just 24 minutes.
The youngster has a significant speed advantage over his challenging left back Daley Blind, so you would expect him to get a few chances down that right hand side and odds of 3/1 look great value.
Check out our Netherlands vs England: 5 Key Battles article to find out more about Sancho’s battle with Blind.